IICS has long been accredited by NEASC (New England Association of School and Colleges) a non-profit organization which assesses the quality of international schools worldwide. In line with the changes in education over the last decades NEASC has itself undergone an innovative evolution to create an accreditation system that better fits the profile of a truly excellent school for the current and future needs of students.
IICS was amongst the first cohort of schools to be ‘tested’ with this new protocol and hosted the visitors from NEASC in March this year for the preliminary visit.
Our reputation in the international educational community for work on personalizing learning is well known and we were thrilled to find one of the accreditation team members, Diane Ullman, is the co-author of a thought-provoking book on Personalising Learning which several IICS staff members had been studying! This discovery was a good start to the visit.
Their initial report was extremely positive and validating of the development of the school and its community. Read the full report to gain understanding of the nature of the accreditation and the full findings.
EXCERPTS FROM THE REPORT:
“The school’s mission ‘to inspire students to excel and to be inquisitive, creative, compassionate, balanced, and internationally-minded’ was visible in every corner of the two campuses. In recent years the school has pursued personalized learning … and while the precise definition is still being debated amongst the faculty, they are unified in their desire to give students increased voice and choice in their learning, to give them skills to reflect on their learning and to tap into the natural curiosity and invention by providing time for students to direct their own learning.”
“Without doubt the visitors were most impressed with the relationships among teachers and students.”
“As the visit progressed the visitors were reminded of the iconic nested, Russian dolls. The Mission-driven goals and values that characterized IICS classrooms were also observed in teacher interactions and leadership interactions, creating a coherence in the school that is seldom seen.”
“The visitors noted that the school’s warm and inclusive environment fosters a sense of community that is truly exceptional.”
As we embark on the next phase of the development of the school the visitors made some suggestions for principal areas of focus:
- Developing a greater involvement of parents, Board members and students in the overall direction of the school
- Deepening the knowledge of parents, Board Members and, to some extent, the students, of the educational practices and philosophy of IICS; helping to build more understanding of how the Mission of the school, IB curriculum and personalising learning fits together
- Exploring how the assessment of student progress and achievement can be broadened to include a wider range of student skills and dispositions
We fully agree with their observations and are eager to tackle how to solve these challenges. We welcome input and participation of parents interested in this. Do please contact us if you want to be involved (email Figen Underdown).
The visitors commented on how they observed the teachers “working shoulder to shoulder to improve their teaching and find better ways to support student learning…. that IICS embodies the essence of a learning community in which teachers and students are partners in learning”. It would be wonderful to have more opportunities to have our parents also be partners in the learning and growth of the school.